Palmer’s Direct to You Market has a long history in Rochester, NY. They opened in 1850, in the Centre Market on Front Street in downtown Rochester. As the company grew and expanded, they moved to several locations and operated under several similar names, through five family generations. I have visited their current location three times; once for lunch take-out and twice to eat lunch on site. Shown here is my review of one of the lunch visits with a friend.
Located in the Genesee Valley Regional Market, Palmer’s Direct to You Market occupies a detached building, with plenty of parking and a pleasant exterior. The market space is a combination of retail meat, poultry and seafood, and related items, along with a small but mighty cooked food service, called Meals-To-Go.
You wouldn’t know by looking from the outside that they feature a great lunch and dinner menu, with a centrally located seating area. As I entered the market, I noticed this seating area first, flanked on one side by the cafeteria style, walk-up ordering line and kitchen, and the retail store on the other side. Actually, it is laid out in a circle, with the seating area for diners in the middle.
On our visit, Palmer’s Direct to You Market appeared to be taping a commercial, I assumed for television. The retail space was dotted with cameras, lighting equipment, and creative-looking types discussing shadows, audio, and timing.
It is a bustling retail store with a butcher shop and seafood shop, along with a centralized casual dining area and walk-up ordering for their kitchen. Shoppers browsed the line up of large display cases filled with tempting fresh and frozen selections of fish, seafood, poultry and meats.
The seating area was about half full, and the prepared food ordering line on the other side of the store was surprisingly short at lunchtime.
I peaked at the chalk-written menu, posted on the opposite side of the partition separating the seating area, as I made my way to the prepared foods ordering line. The full menu was on display behind and above the ordering line. I was impressed with the breadth of their offerings. I expected to see only a few hot and cold sandwiches, featuring meat and seafood (mirroring their retail offerings). However, I was pleased to also see paninis, fried seafood, seafood entrees, salads, breaded chicken, etc.
My lunch companion ordered a Marinated Shrimp Salad with a fresh roll ($10.99). She said that it was more filling than she had expected. Topped with a hearty portion of warm, seven herb marinated shrimp, along with fresh avocado slices, crispy bacon, bright mescaline greens and tomato wedges, it was dressed with a light but sweet and tangy vinaigrette dressing. We were both impressed that the salad came with an individually wrapped, fresh roll and butter. She enjoyed the salad and said that she would order it again, as it was fresh and full of flavorful ingredients. I thought that it was a great way for Palmer’s to feature their fresh shrimp.
My lunch was just as satisfying. I ordered a Crab Cake Sandwich with a side of sautéed Kale ($11.99), along with a bottle of Crystal Water ($1.25) and an impulse buy of a register-side raisin cookie ($1.29). The lump crab cake was larger and thicker than I expected, and had a spicy bite to it due to the pepper mayo, which I enjoyed. Served on an open-faced toasted brioche roll, with lettuce and tomato, it was a great alternative to a traditional lunch burger. I liked the meaty consistency of the juicy crab cake and the vibrant flavors. Again, this sandwich was a great way for Palmer’s to highlight their seafood (crab in this case).
I found the kale side to be just ok. It was served with juliennes carrots and slices of onions. The kale was rather bitter and might have benefitted from a second boil to release some of the bitterness. Also, the woody stalks were still on the kale, making it tough, stringy and hard to chew. Finally, I would have liked a more carrots in this vegetable mix, for added color, texture and taste. However, the vegetables were spiced well, with just enough salt and pepper.
The raisin cookie (my impulse buy) was a sweet ending dessert for this savory lunch. Moist and chewy, it made me smile. I don’t know if these are made in-house or purchased elsewhere.
As Palmer’s Direct to You Market is a walk-up style ordering eatery, we did not have a waitress. We simply placed our orders with the kitchen cashier and paid for our food. We were then each given a number and we found a place to sit among the dozen or so tables. Shortly afterwards, one of the servers brought our food to the table.
The service, although limited by design, was just right for this type of eatery. Both the cashier and the server were polite, efficient and energetic. The cashier kindly answered my questions about the vegetables being offered that day, with ease and confidence.
I found Palmer’s Direct to You market to be a hidden gem for a great lunchtime meal, served quickly, in a clean, comfortable environment. I also noticed that they offer reasonably priced demonstrations/classes on occasion – I might just have to try one. Want to join me?
IF YOU GO:
Palmer’ Direct to You Market
Genesee Valley Regional Market
900 Jefferson Road
Rochester, NY 14623
Email: see webform on their website
- Market Hours: Mon-Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 10am-4pm
- Kitchen Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-2pm, Fri 11am-8pm, Sat 11am-2pm, Sun Closed
Cuisine: Seafood, American
Meals Served: Lunch, Dinner
Children’s Menu: No
Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Requires Reservations: No
Table Service: delivery to your table
Take Out: yes
Outdoor Seating: yes, seasonal
Parking: Free and plentiful in adjacent lot
Valet Service: No
Bar Seating: No
Coat Check: No
Date opened: 1850, 2009 in this location
Date visited: Thursday, November 5, 2015 for lunch